Noted and Quoted

Viva 'El Rey' - in the Bronx

Hostos Community College's library recently unveiled the first phase of the Tito Puente Legacy Project, a permanent exhibit of music and memorabilia defining the life of one of the 20th century's most influential Latin-jazz musicians.

The exhibit at Hostos — venue for many of Puente's concerts in the Bronx — includes his musical instruments, recordings, posters, videos, press clippings and photographs from his days as a Boy Scout through his later life. In time, his complete works are expected to become part of a Tito Puente Museum on the campus to preserve the memory of the man known as King of the Mambo, the King of Latin Music, or simply El Rey.

Puente, who died at 77 in 2000, was born in Harlem to Puerto Rican parents and achieved worldwide fame as a orchestra leader, musical arranger, composer and instrumentalist.

"This is a dream come true," said Joe Conzo, director of the Legacy Project and a noted music historian who worked with Puente for more than four decades. "It will be a good tool for children, students and adults of all ages and of all ethnic backgrounds to learn about our music through the unique legacy of our great Tito Puente."

Special guests at the opening included Puente's wife, Margaret; his daughter, Audrey, and his son Ron; Puerto Rican singer Sophey Hernandez, and Congressman Jose E. Serrano, who secured $50,000 in federal funds for the project.

Report: Raise the Bar for Early Childhood Education

New York City's early-childhood centers face a number of challenges --- including serving a growing number of children for whom English is a second language and getting qualified professionals to enter and remain in the field --- according to a new report by the New York City Early Childhood Professional Development Institute at CUNY.

"Learning About the Workforce," prepared in collaboration with the Cornell University Early Childhood Program, is the first such in-depth study in the city. The report, which focuses on the community- and school-based early-childhood centers that educate children from birth to age 5, paints a portrait of a workforce that is educationally and ethically diverse but reveals substantial gaps in education, certification, professional development and compensation between teachers at school-based and community-based centers. For the full report, go to www.earlychildhoodnyc.org.

City Housing Authority Funds CUNY Educations

Ten New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents have received $1,000 scholarships to further their education at CUNY.

For Kimberly Golden, the award couldn't have come at a better time. "Without the scholarship I would not have been able to purchase all of my books and attend the winter session," said the single working mother of two, who attends York College and lives in South Jamaica Houses in Queens.

Kit Hing Lam, another scholarship recipient, said she feels honored to have won and hopes that her success will encourage other Asian-American students who live in public housing to pursue this and other opportunities that NYCHA makes available to residents. The NYCHA/CUNY program, started in 2005, provides scholarships for qualifying residents of public housing who are enrolled in CUNY Colleges.

Bloom, Fume, Zoom

Its blossom looks like a rocket blasting out of a head of cabbage, and it definitely doesn't smell like a rose. But it lasts only a day and another might not appear for a decade, so visitors flocked to Lehman College recently to sniff the stinky bloom of the aptly nicknamed "Corpse Flower." Greenhouse manager David Cain likened the smell to a two-week-old elephant carcass.

Amorphophallus titanum — its botanical name — is the world's largest flower. It normally blossoms only once every 10 years in its native Sumatran rain forests. But Cain began growing this one only six years ago from seeds collected in 1993 by Mohammad Fayyaz, director of the Botany Greenhouses and Botanical Gardens at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Leyman's plant thus was dubbed Big Mozy after Fayyaz.

Cain attributes Big Mozy's early flowering to the conducive environment within the greenhouse but also to the reaction of Lehman students in its presence. "Students came in and just went crazy over the plant," Cain said. "They hugged it and talked to it and returned for repeated visits. This plant has gotten a lot of love from the Bronx."

Hunter Gene Center, Nursing School Share NIH Award With Weill Cornell

The Hunter College School of Nursing and the College's Center for the Study of Gene Structure and Function are sharing in the latest round of National Institutes of Health Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA), joining a consortium that ultimately will enable researchers to provide new treatments more quickly and efficiently to patients nationwide.

Hunter researchers, who work in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medical College and other prestigious institutions on Manhattan's East Side, are part of an expanding national consortium that is transforming how clinical and traditional research is conducted at academic health centers across the country. When fully implemented in 2012, 60 institutions will be linked together to energize the disciplines of clinical and translational science.

"Through collaboration and leadership, these sites are serving as discovery engines that can rapidly translate research into prevention strategies and clinical treatments for people who need them," said NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., who announced the expansion.

Hunter's Gene Center recruits and nurtures minority talent and has established an effective electronic network with minority scientists nationwide. The Hunter College School of Nursing, training nurses from a diverse urban population, participates in community outreach and education in under-served areas.

Recruitment and Risk Management Appointments

Dr. Henry Vance Davis, who has more than 25 years' experience in diversity initiatives, has been appointed University Dean for Recruitment and Diversity after a nationwide search. "Dr. Davis brings significant experience and outstanding accomplishments," to CUNY in the area of inclusion initiatives, Chancellor Matthew Goldstein said. "We look forward to his efforts in support of the University's mission."

It was also announced that University Director of Environmental, Health and Safety Dr. Howard Apsan has assumed the responsibilities for risk management, including chairing a new Risk Management Council that includes members from each campus to serve as key contacts for risk management communication throughout CUNY. Ongoing risk management activities within specific campus units already include environmental and financial audits, personnel procedures, emergency preparedness and lab safety training.